Two giant pandas arrive in Madrid

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Two giant pandas, Jin Xi and Zhu Yu, arrived in Madrid, Spain on Monday, ready to start a 10-year stay in the European country.

A charter flight carrying the pandas from their home in Chengdu City, Sichuan Province in southwest China, landed on Monday at the Adolfo Suarez Madrid-Barajas International Airport, the Madrid Zoo Aquarium said.

The zoo’s veterinary and conservation team, as well as several officials from Spain’s Nature Protection Service (SEPRONA), waited at the airport and escorted the pandas to the zoo upon their arrival.

A special dinner made of freshly-cut bamboo shoots was waiting for the new members of the zoo. 

The bears will be quarantined for about a month and could meet the public in late May if everything goes well, the Madrid zoo said.

In order to create a more comfortable living environment for the giant pandas, the zoo has conducted safety inspections and upgraded all the facilities and equipment in the panda enclosure.

Chinese experts went to Madrid in advance to inspect the conditions of the pandas’ new home. They will stay for about three months, until the pandas fully adapt to their new environment.

“Both pandas were born in 2020, so they are nearly four years old. They are very healthy, well developed in body shape and all other aspects. That’s why we chose these two for Spain,” said Yang Kuixing, a Chinese giant panda breeding expert.

China and Spain signed an agreement in 2007 to promote international cooperation on giant panda protection and advance bilateral cooperation on the preservation of endangered species and biodiversity. During the cooperation period, six panda cubs were successfully bred and have grown up.

Giant pandas Bing Xing and Hua Zuiba, along with their offspring Chulina, Jiu Jiu and You You, returned to China from Spain this March. The giant pandas, as a symbol of friendship between the Chinese and Spanish people, were deeply loved by locals.

“We felt a little sad to say goodbye to the five giant pandas living in Madrid. We had been with them for a long time, so it was hard for us to say goodbye. But now we are very happy and looking forward to welcoming a new pair of giant pandas. We are about to start a new chapter,” said Maria Delclaux, who is in charge of the giant panda enclosure at the zoo. 

(Cover image via video screenshot)